International Canoe Worlds 1975
Hayling Island, England
Hayling Island SC hosted the 6th ICF world championship for Canoe sailing in a week of continuous sunshine and failing wind at the end of August. Canoes came from Sweden, Germany, USA, Spain and the UK to compete in this three-yearly event.
Sweden, represented by a powerful team of eleven, showed complete dominance, filling the first three places overall and in every race except one. Raciong commenced on Sunday August 24th in a Force 4 SW winds following a practice race on Saturday for the 10sq.m. Trophy won by Gunnar Aggefors (Sweden). Mats Lind and Lars Lundgren managed to sort out tides and windshifts to score first and second respectively in the Sunday and Monday races. Wind shifts were a major problem for John Hunt the race officer. Some days proved almost impossible with major shifts occurring in the 5 minutes before the start resulting in general recalls and more attempts to get the fleet away; Tuesday saw the entire fleet on the water for some seven hours. Swedish team officials could be seen topping their boys up with glucose drinks before leaving the shore!
Martin Rosell, the defending world champion, appeared in the top five on Tuesday, gaining a second from clubmate Lundgren, with Leif Johansson third. The starting line in this race was something akin to a Grand National fence with two Spanish Canoes capsizing bringing down a few others to boot [editors note: the Grand National is an English horse race over particularly large and difficult obstacles. It is noted for the number of horses which fall or are brought down by others.].
Of the English contingent Tony Miles achieved a fourth on Sunday when the wind was strongest but was not to be seen in the first five thereafter; John Biddle, fourth on Monday and third on Wednesday, was the only English sailor to finish in the top three in any race while Ken Davis proved to be the most consistent, always in the first eight, giving him the best English result of fourth overall. Ian Smith, late of Toys [I assume this means the TOY class, which was a sliding seat singlehander designed for the IYRA (now ISAF) trial process which eventually selected the Contender. That class was reasonably popular in the UK in the 60s and early 70s.], found his way round the wind shifts to record a sixth on Thursday and Friday.
The Swedish team consisted of two groups; those from Gothenburg Canoe Club and those from Stockholm and district. The winner overall Lars Eric Lundgren from Gothenberg sailed a Rosell designed chine canoe which he sailed consistently well all week [editors note: doubtless the famous/notorious Slurp design]. The majority of the Swedish sails were home-made but of a very high standard, being supported either on rotating Proctor Es or Betas. Leif Johansson, second overall, sails an all-glass Canoe to the one design rule while Mats Lind sails a Miles-built cold moulded Canoe.
While the UK fleet lick their wounds for the second year running their overall performance has without doubt improved, but lacks the development in rig which the Swedes have achieved. Racing was close at all times:; there was a fight for every position in the first fifteen. Courses were laid well but the tides often turned the reaches ito runs with the light airs that prevailed. Hayling Island S.C.'s organisation both on and off the water left nothing to be desired. The next international event will probably be at Ma Menor Spain next Easter.
Tony Marston. This report first appeared in Yachts and Yachting Magazine.